Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Runes Language

Runes Language Image
Runes: A magical language from Pre-Christian Europe.

The issue of a magical language for the Neo/Pagan community has been debated for some time by the memebers of the Wiccoid Pan Paganites. Some feel quite comfortable using the Quaballistic system of the Judaic peoples. While others feel that this system is infused with thousands of years of patriarchy which taints it in the minds of those who do not desire to use it.

There have been a number of languages that have been uncovered in the past century. Ogham, the Celtic written language is one choice, but using this system is problematic because the tradition it came from (as with many of that time) was oral and the Druids (teachers of the Ogham alphabet) were destroyed along with the Library at Tara by the overzelous St. Patrick. The information surviving to this day on the Ogham alphabet is mostly recreated by people who do the most with what they have...but the inner knowledge of the Ogham system has been lost.

The runic language, however, was created by the Teutonic peoples of the Continent and Scandinavia was able to last as a magical system alive and intact because the Christian influence came at a later time and those people were not destroyed but rather were converted.

The Teutonic Runic system was used by the Goths, the Visigoths, the Vandals and many other Teutonic Tribes of the era of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Norse/Vikings of the 10th through the 12th century, the Saxons who invaded the isle of Great Brittan, and many tribes of Teutons not known to history for their military expeditions. By this we see that the runic system was in use from approximately 500 c.e. until at least 1,200 c.e. and there are many examples of runic talismans from which to investigate.

Other examples which aid in a good understanding of what the rune system was and how the magical archetypes were fused both in the minds of the Vitki (the name of a runic magician {Thorrson1}) and in the shapes of the runic staves are a wealth of writings from those who used the system (the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda) and from some of the Roman historians Tacitus, Virgil and others. These two main sources give an perspective to the study of the runic system. That of the participant and that of the observer. One who is interested in working with the any magical system is both of these a participant and an observer.

There have been a number of revivals of the runic system in modern times. Both occured in Germany, the center of the Teutonic tribes. The first was an intellectual/magical revival in which a number of occultists worked with the system and added to the available knowledge though innovation and study of folklore and history. The second was a manipulation of the archetypes of the runes to control a population, popularly known as Nazi Germany. The Nazis used ideas, archetypes, and the pride of the Teutonic peoples to control them magically. This is not to say that the German people are no responsible for their actions is not the point I offer. Rather that some of the runes that were used by the Nazis will be seen in the runic system and that one should attempt to disinherit the short and horrid imposition from the beauty and power of Nature that is inherant in the symbols and has been for hundreds of years.

The last of the runic revivals is the current one. The interest in
the runes has increased vastly in the last ten years. One of the reasons is the writings of Edred Thorrson, and the institution by him of the Rune Guild. The books written by this man are heavily researched and relatively easy to read and follow. There are other writers on the runic system, but they are all different, using different runic alphabets, and seem to be a mish-mosh of the four different runic alphabets. The amount of work to be done on the runic system is great, but the rewards of working with the system are as great, enlivening, and exciting.

There are four basic runic alphabets. The Elder Futhark, Younger
Futhark, Anglo-Saxon Fothark, and the Frisian Futhark. The most complete of the forms is the Elder Futhark, of twenty-four staves. The other forms either are missing staves or have staves that are mixtures of two staves. Think of the scientific Table of the Elements. The form that has the greatest number of the most basic forms is the best place to start because you can make as many combination from these with great
understaning of what forces are at work in the compilation.

The Elder Futhark also is the oldest form known as being a complete alphabet. There are some earlier examples of the use of the runic
symbols, but 500 c.e. is the earliest compiled,complete futhark.

The studying this author has done on the runic system has been with the Elder Futhark, using Edred Thorrsons's books. They are a great
beginning although being a bit on the patriarchal side for my taste. He offers a wealth of information which any user of magical formuli can combine and find further understanding of the runes. I recommend his books highly as a resource from which to do one's own research. I also recommend reading the Edda's and writings by Virgil, Tacitus and other Roman historian on the subject of German/Teuton society.

The amount of information available about the runes for the pagan
who is seeking a magical alphabet with which to scribe, cypher, or to expand consciousness is exceptional for an ancient lettering. Unlike the Quaballah it is not connected with the Judeo/Christian reality, but unfortunately is connected with patriarchy.

The breakdown of the dieties in the Teutonic/Norse tradition is
reflective of the history that is shared by almost all of the religions in Europe. The earliest god/desses of the region were originally thought to be from the Lake Van in Anatolia (where modern day Turkey is). The pantheon of dieties was known as the Vanic dieties. This was basically a Nature based religion common in Europe before the patriarchal era began.
Many of the goddess and god names are recognizible as being a part of the Aesir. Goddesses like Freya, Iduna, Sif, Hella; and the god Frey are all names I had heard before I read my first book on runes.

The group of dieties usually attributed to the Norse/Teutonic
people are the Aesir. The well known pantheon of Odhinn, Thor, Tyr, Loki, The Fenris Wolf, the Giants (thurs'), and many more. The accepted historical explination of the change is the invasion of the Scandinavian areas by the Teutonic Tribes of the Continent. Many of the god/desses were eliminated from popular practice and relegated to less visible and less important realms of influence. The most powerfull god/desses were married into the pahtheon of the Aesir, Freya (meaning "Lady"), Hella, Iduna, Frigga (an alternate personality of Freya), Frey (meaning
), and others.

The historical change from a Goddess based nature religion to a
martial God based religion had very a very strong impact on the region.
The change in concepts aided in the justification of the raiding and invading of various Teutonic tribes throughout the first and second centuries of the Common Era (C.E.). It also spread the runic system throughout Northern Europe and England.

The negative side of this warlike attitude is the desire of many
Pagans to use a system for the spreading of peace and of the healing of the Earth Mother. Much of the information in the texts available deal with the battles and conquests of the Teutons and their God/desses, not quite the place for a peace- loving pagan to find power and solace.
However the main battle in the runic sagas (Eddas) is the battle between conscious action and non-conscious action. The Aesir and Vanir in
alliance against the Thurses or forces of chaos. The law and chaos dealt with are not the social "law" and anarchy that most of the status-quo fear, but rather the law of the natural order and the chaos of
non-natural or artificial destruction of the natural law for reasons with no wisdom.

It seems to this author that the "battle" engaged in the mystical
realm of the Norse/Teutonic multiverse is closely alligned with the battle that we face today against the wholesale corporate destruction of the ecology of the planet which I think we can all agree is a plan
without wisdom.

With a good deal of hard work and perseverence with the runic
system, it seems that the Vanic God/desses can be reintegrated into the system. A rebalancing of the pantheon to allow for the modern view that the god and the goddess influence should be in perspective...even.

Reprinted From the Winter Solstace Will and Word 1990 EV



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